Under the Radar: Bois 1920 Agrumi Amari di Sicilia- Embracing the Bitterness

One of the fun things of owning too much perfume is discovering something I haven’t worn in a while. It’s like finding something new all over again except since I bought it I must have liked it. This summer I reacquainted myself with Bois 1920 Agrumi Amari di Scicilia.

Bois 1920 is an Italian heritage brand. While the idea of heritage brands has expanded greatly in the last couple of years; in 2005 it wasn’t common. The story from the brand says Guido Galardi opened his perfumery in Florence in 1920. It was not a roaring success and would close just five years later. It also didn’t inspire Guido’s son Renato to want to give it a second try. That would take eighty years and the grandson of Guido and son of Renato, Enzo to attempt. He still had the old family perfume recipes and wanted to give it a go in this new world of niche perfumery.

Enzo Galardi

Bois 1920 opened with a debut collection of eight releases. In writing this I realize I own five of those eight. I was attracted to this Italian style of perfume making that Sig. Galardi was producing. It may not have succeeded in 1920 but in 2005 it was another reason for the expansion of niche perfumery.

Agrumi amari translates to bitter citrus. That is one of the things I never understood about citrus perfumes having grown up among citrus trees. They mostly exude a bitter fragrance. For Agrumi Amari di Sicilia Sig. Galardi embraces that bitterness.

That bitterness coalesces around a core of grapefruit. When you use grapefruit in a high concentration there is a slightly sulfurous quality present. Petitgrain provides guardrails for this grapefruit to travel down. Then what I love about the top accord here is the figurative pinch of cumin that is used. That elongates that sulfurous thread from the grapefruit as orange, and lime chime in to finalize the bitter citrus accord. The transitional note to the floral heart is blackcurrant buds in their sticky green incarnation. It is a bitter green all on its own. Lavender and jasmine make up the heart with the former on top. The base is a typical earthy patchouli and musk.

Agrumi Amari di Sicilia has 6-8 hour longevity and average sillage.

Sig. Galardi has already made it further than his grandfather as the brand enters its fourteenth year. I want to not only bring Agrumi Amari di Sicilia from Bois 1920 onto your radar but those other four from the debut collection I own are also worth seeking out. Those are Real Patchouly, Sandalo e The, Sushi Imperiale and Vetiver Ambrato. Give them a try.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

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